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巴萨在家阿贾克斯开始征服欧洲

It should be a special night in the Camp Nou Stadium on Wednesday as FC Barcelona open their Champions League campaign at home to Dutch side, Ajax.

The two teams have always had close links on and off the field, with the most obvious connection being the great Johann Cruyff, who became a legend as both player and coach at Barca after making his name with Ajax.

Cruyff has said he won't attend the game as a result of his poor relations with current Barca President, Sandro Rosell, but there are other links between the two clubs, such as defender Michael Reiziger or current Ajax coach, Frank de Boer, who both played for Barca, while Ajax striker Bojan Krkic learned his trade at the Camp Nou.

Good relations (Cruyff aside), apart, Barca have questions to answer in their European debut. Although Tata Martino's side currently top the BBVA Primera Liga, they could not be accused of doing so in convincing style, given that they have conceded four goals in their last two games and needed a 93rd minute winner to defeat Sevilla on Saturday night.

At times the defense has looked vulnerable and exposed both at set pieces and on the break and while conceding goals on the break is partly due to a midfield which failed to provide cover on Saturday, the weakness from set pieces is a continual problem and Martino, although he doesn't say so in public, must be lamenting the failure to sign a commanding central defender during the transfer window.

With few options available as Carles Puyol continues his recovery from a knee injury, Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano will continue in central defense, while Adriano will come in at left back to cover for the injured Jordi Alba, who is sidelined for three weeks with a torn hamstring.

Dani Alves will continue on the right, although Martino could rest Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets with Cesc Fabrigas and Alex Song stepping into action in midfield.

Cesc has been in excellent form during the opening weeks to the season with the former Arsenal player also adding an extra attacking option to the edge provided by Leo Messi and Neymar, who enjoyed his best game yet in a Barca shirt against Sevilla.

Pedro Rodriguez could also return to the starting 11 and he could provide more balance that youngster Christian Tello, whose tendency to cut inside often narrows down the Barca attack.

Martino will be hoping his side shows some more steel in defense and knows that if they can shut Ajax out, Messi and Neymar should assure a winning start in Europe, but recent games have shown Barca that if they want to win they need to score more than one goal.
 

简明释义:它应该是周三在诺坎普球场,巴萨在那打开他们征战欧冠的通道,以阿贾克斯为主场的一个特殊夜晚。

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